%588. Election of Taft.%—For the thirty-first time in our history electors of President and Vice President were chosen in 1908. Seven parties placed candidates in the field. The Republicans nominated William H. Taft and James S. Sherman; the Democrats named William J. Bryan and John W. Kern. Candidates were also presented by the Prohibition, Populist, Socialist Labor, Socialist, and Independence parties. In many respects the Republican and Democratic platforms were alike. Both declared for revision of the tariff, postal savings banks, a bureau of mines and mining, protection of our citizens abroad, a better civil service, improvement of our inland waterways, preservation of our forests, and the admission of Arizona and New Mexico as separate states. The Democratic platform called for an income tax, the publication of the names of contributors to national campaign funds, legislation against private monopolies, and full control of interstate railways. Taft and Sherman were elected.
One of Taft’s first acts as President was to call a special session of Congress, which met March 15 to frame a new tariff act.
[Illustration: William H. Taft]
1. The political issues before the country since 1880 have been of two general classes—industrial and financial.
2. The industrial issues led to the formation of certain great organizations, as the Farmers’ Alliance, Knights of Labor, Patrons of Industry, etc.; and to the enactment of certain important laws, as the Interstate Commerce Acts, the Anti-Chinese laws, the Anti-Contract Labor law, and the establishment of the Labor Bureau.
3. The financial issues were in general connected in some way with the agitation for free coinage of silver.
4. These issues seriously affected both the old parties and produced others, as the Anti-monopoly party, the People’s party, the Silver party, the National, the Socialist.
5. In 1893 financial questions became so serious that a panic occurred, which forced the repeal of the purchase clause of the Sherman Act. In 1907 there was another panic.
6. Among our foreign complications during this period were the question of the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands, the Venezuela boundary dispute, the Cuban question, which finally involved us in a war with Spain, and the trouble with China arising from the Boxer outbreak.
7. The chief events of the war with Spain were Dewey’s naval victory in Manila Bay, May 1; the battles of El Caney and San Juan, near Santiago, July 1; the naval battle of July 3 off Santiago; the surrender of Santiago, July 14; the invasion of Porto Rico, near the end of July; and the capture of Manila, August 13.
8. The war resulted in the cession of Porto Rico and the Philippines to our country, and in Spain’s withdrawal from Cuba.
9. The withdrawal of Spain from the Philippines was followed by an uprising of natives led by Aguinaldo; but the insurrection was soon suppressed and a system of civil government established.